1995-2018

Project Directors: Judith V. Jordan, Ph.D.

The Jean Baker Miller Training Institute grew out of the work of psychiatrist Jean Baker Miller, M.D., and was officially founded in 1995 as an initiative of the Wellesley Centers for Women-Stone Center at Wellesley College. The Institute offered training programs and workshops and produced publications on Relational-Cultural Theory, the idea that growth-fostering relationships are central to positive human development. In 2018, it grew into the International Center for Growth in Connection, an independent non-profit organization.

Early Years

In 1976, Dr. Miller wrote the best selling book, Toward a New Psychology of Women. The book, widely acknowledged as the start of Relational-Cultural Theory, explored dominance and subordination in human relationships and began to reframe psychology centered around relationships and connection rather than individualism. This concept, that humans are social beings who grow through and toward relationships throughout their lives, was a radical concept at the time.

Following the publication of Dr. Miller's book, her ideas were further developed by a collaborative group that included three additional founding scholars -- Judith V. Jordan, Ph.D., Irene Stiver, Ph.D., and Janet Surrey, Ph.D. Over the years, the founding scholars published and presented their ideas both nationally and internationally. More scholars, research scientists, and clinicians joined their network, contributing to the development of Relational-Cultural Theory with books, working papers, and other publications.

Joining the Wellesley Centers for Women

In the decades following the publication of Dr. Miller's book, Relational-Cultural Theory continued to grow, with academics, educators, and practitioners bringing it into medicine, neuroscience, counseling, social work, psychology, education, environmentalism, and other fields. The founding scholars joined the Wellesley Centers for Women-Stone Center, and in 1995 the Jean Baker Miller Training Institute was officially founded at Wellesley College. The Institute held annual conferences, training programs, and workshops to expand the education and practice of Relational-Cultural Theory. The Institute explored new applications of Relational-Cultural Theory and integrated it with research and social justice work. Over the years, Relational-Cultural Theory grew to be recognized both nationally and internationally. The American Psychological Association identifies Relational-Cultural Theory as one of the ten most important psychological theories in contemporary America.

Becoming the International Center for Growth in Connection

In 2018, the Jean Baker Miller Training Institute became the International Center for Growth in Connection, an independent non-profit organization. The International Center for Growth in Connection continues as the world hub for Relational-Cultural Theory, reaching scholars and practitioners around the globe to further the education and application of Relational-Cultural Theory.

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